Armstrong State University’s latest Coastal Empire Economic Monitor reports the Savannah-area economy continued to expand during the second quarter of 2014 and should experience strong growth throughout the year.
The Economic Monitor, which analyzes data and identifies trends affecting the regional economy, reports across-the-board growth in key areas.
The economy was boosted by strength in consumer confidence, tourism indicators and overall employment, with additional support provided by general port activity and retail sales. The coincident index accelerated and surged for the third consecutive quarter, solidifying a trend of significant growth in the Savannah metro economy.
“The Coastal Empire leading economic index continued to rise, but at a more sustainable rate than the blistering pace of the previous three quarters,” said Michael Toma, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Economics and the Director of Armstrong’s Center for Regional Analysis. “The forecast for the regional economy is for sustained growth into early 2015.”
Both the coincident and leading indices signal that the Savannah metro economy is growing healthily and is expected to do so through early 2015.
Highlights from the latest Economic Monitor include:
• The Coastal Empire coincident economic index surged 1.9 percent to 167.2. This marks an annualized pace of 7.7 percent and extends the current trend of strong growth to three consecutive quarters.
• Seasonally adjusted employment in the three-county metro area increased to 164,400 during the quarter and now exceeds the past pre-recession high by 1,800 jobs. Professional and business services added 700 workers, continuing a trend of expanding rapidly for 18 months.
• Growth in private sector employment continues to outpace growth in government employment. Compared to the previous year, the private sector expanded 3.7 percent, while the public sector lost three percent of its workforce.
• The number of new residential homes permitted for construction in the quarter increased to 356 from 335, a six percent rise. The number of permits issued is up 26 percent compared to year-ago data.
• In the labor market, seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance fell about two percent to 874 claims per month during the quarter. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to about 6.5 percent.
• Seasonally adjusted hotel and motel room receipts increased 6 percent during the quarter and are up 16 percent as compared to year-ago data.
The Coastal Empire Economic Monitor presents quarterly economic trends and short-term economic forecasts for Savannah’s Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The quarterly report measures the heartbeat of the local economy, based on the analysis of economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the City of Savannah, Georgia Power and the three counties in the MSA—Chatham, Bryan and Effingham.
The report presents a short-term forecast of the region’s economic activity in the next six to nine months and is available free by email. To subscribe, email CRA@armstrong.edu.